Elaine Martini Teixeira was a kid growing up in Moss Beach during WWII. In a series of interviews, she has generously shared her memories with us.
(Elaine, wearing white, with sister Loretta)
HalfMoonBayMemories (HMBM): There was a movie theater in town, right?
Elaine Martini Teixeira (ETM): The local HMB movie theater, owned by Alvin Hatch, was a big treat for all of us. The first theater was on Main Street, corner of Miramontes, where a cafe is now located. Later, a new one was built, across the street,facing the shopping center on Miramontes St. The movie house is gone; now there are a few businesses, located in the bldg., per my brother, Raymond.
There were special evenings when the movie house people had drawings and awarded money to the general public. One time my brother won but he wasn’t supposed to be out, so he sent me up to claim his prize! Same thing happened with Aunt Lil, who was a bit shy about walking up to the stage. Sometimes they gave out dishes; it helped kept people going on those evenings .
HMBM: What movies did you see?
EMT: I saw so many movies over the years, not easy to list them or recall, I know we all enjoyed, “Gone with the Wind”, saw lots of westerns, and one, “The Cat People”, now a classic, scared the devil out of me. I had dreams about it. June Torre and I had a big crush on Tyrone Power, Aunt Lil was smitten with Robert Taylor and my older sister Gloria was a BIG fan of Clark Gable. We all loved the Bette Davis movies.
We (Gloria, Lil and I) got rides with my brother, Raymond, when he borrowed the car from my dad, an old four door, Chevy. Raymond was a wise one, would get Lil to treat him to the show; Gloria had to treat for ice cream but I was too young to have money, so I got a FREE ride! Raymond was also was able to sit with his girlfriend at the show, his wife in later years, Shirley Joseph, who lived right in town.
HMBM: Did you go see movies in San Francisco?
EMT: The family and most of the locals, did not drive to SF for movies, that I know of, I went with Aunt Lil to see movies and stage shows at the Golden Gate Theater. We took the Greyhound Bus (which was the only one going to SF) which left the Coastside at 6:30 a.m. and returned in the evening about 6:30 p.m. I remember seeing the Harry James Band with vocalist Helen Forest during the “big band era” when she took me to SF. Others we saw, Jimmy Dorsey and Sammy Kaye bands.
HMBM: What about school holidays? You went to the city with your friends?
EMT: June Torre and I met our high school friends on the bus in Moss Beach (the bus was filled with people commuting to SF to their jobs).
We tried to schedule it so we could see two double bills – can you imagine, we ate breakfast on Market Street, then waited for the theaters to open around 10 AM: after the first double bill, we ran like h— down Market Street to make it to the second theater and then ran to catch the bus to come home! If we missed it, were stuck in San Franciso.
Seeing two double bills, with the first the main “A movie and the second a “B” movie, I’m not sure if we remembered what we saw!
The theaters were the Fox, now gone, the Warfield, Golden Gate, and Orpheum, the State Theater and I believe one was the Paramont, no longer there.
I remember seeing “Crash Dive” and “Razors Edge.” At the Golden Gate, we saw stage shows starring Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell, there was usually an I opening act and band.
I do remember on one occasion going to SF with Gloria and her future husband, Russell Bernardo, to an event, maybe a movie, in SF. It was during the war years, there was an air raid, when an air raid alarm sounded, it really scared us, had to pull over on the street and park, turn out all lights. Overhead, we soon heard the motor of an airplane, and there were several search lights shining up into the sky. Eventually, the alarm went off to indicate it was over. Thankfully, it was not a foreign plane.
Other special events in SF were to visit playland, on the beach or swim in the pool, both located near the Cliff House.
In later years, when the movie theater in HMB had closed, people drove over to the Peninsula for movies and special events, including the San Mateo County Fair. In those days, new movies moved up and down the peninsual to the different theaters (most of the cities had at least two theaters) and stayed around for a month or two. Also, Tony and I attended dances held at at Playland, with name ochestras, we would meet several couples from HMB.
We drove to San Francisco, saw “South Pacific” with my husband, Tony Teixeira, and Aunt Eva and her husband, Albert Quilici. Also, we attended dances were held at at Playland, with name ochestras.
At Half Moon Bay High School, if you were a good student, and in the honor society, the teachers would take you to plays or musicals at the Curran and Geary Theaters in the City. The first musical I ever saw was “Oklahoma,” and after I got married, I joined the Civic Light Opera in San Francisco, and with several friends attended many musicals.